Arriaga Mexico was a nice spot, even though it was steamy, I didn´t mind the heat, but then I´m from Arizona. The afternoon shower was refreshing, and the room I had was cool with the ceiling fan just on low. I like when you can take a shower and lay down with just a sheet and sleep comfortably. I woke up before dawn and performed my Qi Gong exercises on the balcony as the sun came up, then I took a taxi to the bus station and arrived just 5 minutes before the bus to Tapachula left. It was a ¨first class¨ bus and we arrived a couple of hours later and I lugged my heavy backpack a few blocks to take a shuttle to the border. Crossing the border into Guatemala was extremely easy, though the Mexican Tricycle Taxistas wanted to overcharge me the Guatemalans were very reasonable. I ate an awesome meal at a cafe near the bus terminal for around $3 and talked with three backpackers who had been in Quetzaltenango (Xela) for up to two months! and now were heading to the beach for some warm days.
From Ayutla I took my first ¨chicken bus¨ ride, in the front seat, and boy was that exciting! The driver had a great sixth sense as to when to pass on a blind curve, and only once did he have to back off quickly to avoid a horrible accident, and the cobrador meanwhile was hanging out the door calling out to potential passengers the whole time, with one hand holding his cellphone to his ear. The route to Xela was continuosly populated, going from extremely sweaty Retalhuleu quickly up to the cool mountains of Quetzaltenango.
The taxi driver took advantage of my ignorance as to the location of my hostel and charged me $7 when it should have been $6, then we couldn´t find Las Amigas and instead Hostel M&M looked good for just $6 per night, with a private room. Martina, a German lady, and Maynor, a Guatemalan, are the owners who also offer classes in German, Spanish, and English. I talked alot with Alex from San Diego who has been living there since January and has decided to retire in Xela. He was leaving the next day for the Gulf Coast and he gave me his eggs, sausage, and bread to eat while I was there, which saved me alot of money. It was a very comfortable place to stay , and I often met my fellow housemates on the rooftop terrace: Marina, a retired Guatemalan teacher traveling with her neice Delmit, though they had been living at M&M for four months! I loved to play guitar on the rooftop, and also ran into Martina and Maynor often, who are very gracious hosts.
I didn´t have much luck finding a place to perform in Xela, but I had a great day at Zunil , where they have hot, HOT baths in private tiled rooms for $3 an hour. I only needed half an hour to be extremely relaxed. The next day I walked half way there to the pass where I could take some nice pictures of the valley.